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Methods in Studying World Cultures Doing Anthropology Stages of Field Research Facing Problems Ethics in Anthropology.

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Presentation on theme: "Methods in Studying World Cultures Doing Anthropology Stages of Field Research Facing Problems Ethics in Anthropology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Methods in Studying World Cultures Doing Anthropology Stages of Field Research Facing Problems Ethics in Anthropology

2 Doing Anthropology  Doing anthropology is fieldwork, fieldwork=Ethnography.  Ethnography  a written study of a specific contemporary culture.  ethnology is a comparison of cultural processes based on ethnographic data.  Emic and Etic perspectives, both important.

3 Fieldwork  Firsthand, systematic exploration of a society. Primary context in which cultural anthro undertaken. Means of collecting data and testing hypothesis. Use naturally existing diversity of human cultures as substitute for the controlled lab experiment. Fieldwork is experiences.  Fieldwork is no picnic-preparing takes at least a year for a study that might take 3-5 years. need to get funding through research or government foundation. i.e. NSF, Social Science Research. health precautions-shots. *i.e. Undergrad prof had malaria in different forms 3 or 4 times when working in Kenya. permission from host gov't. rudimentary skills, such as language, landscape.

4 Emic & Etic Perspectives  emic: a perspective in ethnography that uses the concepts and categories that are relevant and meaningful to the culture under analysis.  etic: a perspective in ethnography that uses the concepts and categories of the anthropologist's culture to describe another culture.

5 Stages of Field Research  Selecting Research Question Want to do more than just describe culture, you can't record everything so go with question in mind. Such as "Are people of high status enjoying higher reproductive success?" or "Why do hunter-gatherers continually move from place to place?“  Research Design How do you go about answering question, what variables do you measure? measure status/repro success=amt of wealth and no. of children. measure mobility=no. of moves, where to, when.

6 Stages of Field Research  Collecting Data have to have several techniques because one may work and another may not-also compliment.  Participant Observation.  Interviewing.  Census taking-counting people.  Mapping-locate people in environment.  Document analysis.  Constructing kinship diagrams.  Photography, videotaping.

7 Stages of Field Research: Collecting Data  Participant Observation Fieldwork method in which the c. anthro lives with the people under study and observes their everyday acts. Often participate in, such as helping gather food, find water, etc. Advantages-enhances rapport, distinguish actual from expected behavior, observe nonverbal behavior. Disadvantages-small sample size, not standardized, hard to record, obtrusive effect.

8 Stages of Field Research: Collecting Data  Interviewing structured-ask everyone questions with same answers, like a multiple-choice test. unstructured-ask open-ended, like essay.

9 Stages of Field Research: Collecting Data  Census taking-counting people.  Mapping-locate people in environment.  Document analysis-diaries, colonial reports, songs.  Constructing kinship-relatives of informants.  Photography, videotaping. *i.e. Camera on MTV's Real World-mostly unobtrusive.

10 Stages of Field Research: Analyze and Interpret Data  Evaluate responses, analyze numerical data-such as if studying status and repro success, no. of offspring for different status individuals.  Confirm or reject hypothesis-do no. of offspring reflect higher staus?-why or why not.

11 Field Research: Example  Thomas Lewellen (Professor Emeritus of the University of Richmond) and the Aymara Indians of Peru.  elle//PowerPoints/PPfieldwork_files/fr ame.htm elle//PowerPoints/PPfieldwork_files/fr ame.htm

12 Facing Problems  Everything does not go the way you want it to.  It is difficult to become accustomed to all the major differences between two different cultures. Major-agriculturalist vs. hunt-gatherers Minor-diffs in personal space,appropriate dress  Are techniques really working? Is technique you selected to use while in your office in the University really appropriate in the Real World. Anthros need to reflect on how their personalities are reflected in their fieldwork. *i.e. Mead vs. Freeman.

13 Culture Shock  Psychological disorientation experienced when attempting to operate in a radically different cultural environment. depression, dismay, homesickness.

14 Fieldwork in Papua, New Guinea  Good results from field work- a positive outcome of fieldwork, chance for growth and understanding, develop a broader view of human behavoir. Two c. anthros, husband and wife, were conducting fieldwork on the Island of New Britain in Papau, New Guinea. Thy had moved into Knadoka village and were still trying to learn the language and customs of the people. A woman offered to sell them a watermelon for two shillings and they were happy to oblige. Minutes later the woman returned with Koilia, the village leader and returned the two shillings. Koilia said the woman was wrong to sell the watermelon to them for two shillings and she would return the money. The anthros tried to explain they thought the price was fair and were happy in the bargain. Koilia explained again that it was not that they paid too much but they had paid at all. He was a leader responsible for them while they were in the village and they had shamed him. How would it look if he let guests buy food? It would be all right to give little gifts, but no one was selling them food.

15 Fieldwork in Papua, New Guinea  Later, they settled into the village and plenty of food was brought to them. Seldom did a day pass that someone did not bring something: sweet potatoes, taro, papaya, pineapple and bananas. Made gifts of chewing gum to kids and tobacco to adults. Anthros felt like they were still buying food. At the peak of harvest, they had four stalks of bananas on porch and a woman brought another stalk. The anthros didn't need any more and sent her away. Their perspective was that someone had come to trade for it but the anthros didn't want it.  The woman responded that she wanted nothing for them, but anthros told her to keep them. Koilia came and asked what was wrong with the bananas. Anthros said nothing wrong, but did not need them. Koilia said don't you often have visitors in evening that you give tobacco or coffee. Did you ever think they may be hungry. The people had come to share the bananas, like bringing part of a meal to a potluck. Kolia left saying when your guests are hungry feed them bananas.

16 Lessons Learned  Lesson 1: In a society where food is gifted as part of social life, you may not buy it with money.  Lesson 2: Never refuse a gift, never fail to return a gift. If you cannot use it, you can always give it to someone else.  Very different perspective from our market economy-Offense at getting a gift that's used.

17 Ethics in Anthropology  "Prime directive", how do we influence culture, should we?  *i.e. Star Trek Next Generation-Future anthros studying small agrarian society through one way screen. Screen breaks and whole society is upset. Acquiring consent of people to be studied. Protecting people from risk. Respecting people's privacy and dignity.

18 Ethics: Example  Appell studying Hassidic Jews-a very conservative community, received a grant to do research and went to a community in U.S. that was trying to be incorporated as village.  Tired of publicity and attention, Appell felt sure if he asked permission he would be asked to leave.  So went to services and when asked what he was doing he said he was Jewish, lived and worked nearby and interested in the community. Thus implying he was interested in joining the community. Involved with them for summer, at the end of summer he felt sure the rabbi would have let him conduct his work but was too embarrassed to ask him- What should he do?

19 What should he do?  As it turned out he went back the next summer, conducted research and prepared to leave.  A person asked him what he did for a living and he replied that he taught at a University. The Hassidic Jew asked him what he taught, and Appell replied that he wouldn't understand, but that he studied Anthropology-studying other cultures.  The man replied that he had a great place for him to study-right here. So Appell should probably revealed his motives from the beginning.

20 Statement on ethics from the American Anthropological Association.American Anthropological Association  Must be concerned with: Relations with those studied, most responsible to those an anthro studies. Responsibility to public, truth and totalness in presentations of findings. Responsiblity to discipline of anthro, integrity and rapport with fellow anthros. Responsibility to students, honesty in teaching. Responsibility to sponsors, honest with aims of research. Responsible to own and host gov't., to avoid complications.

21 Epilogue:  “In the final analysis, anthro research is a human undertaking, dependent upon choices for which the individual bears ethical as well as scientific responsibility. That responsibility is a human, not a super human responsibility. To err is human, to forgive humane...” (p. 186 Statement of ethics from AAA).

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